Thursday, May 12, 2005

William Wilberforce and his friends



As we talked about William Wilberforce at the last Agora, here is an encouraging story on his circle of friends that I hope inspires us at the Agora to emulate by the grace of God,

"Throughout history groups of men and women have banded together for the purpose of promoting what they believed to be critical causes. With the defeat of his motion for the abolition in 1789, Wilberforce and his closest friend, Henry Thornton, called together such a group around themselves. The common bond that held this 'Clapham Sect' together was the desire to apply their faith in Jesus Christ to personal, social, political, national and international matters. The group made no claim to be theologians, yet they were people who regarded prayer and Bible study as serious matters. The Clapham group believed that they were representatives of God's kingdom on earth and the faithful stewards of all God had given them. Together, this Clapham fellowship sought to make the British Empire an instrument of social and moral welfare to all people. Throughout their time together, they remained remarkably committed to these goals. The labels 'Clapham Sect' and the 'Saints' were given to them by others, the latter by members of Parliament. No indication of any desire to give themselves a name was reflected in the correspondence and literature of members of the group. The term 'Clapham Sect' was not used until later, when the phrase was coined in an 1844 essay by Sir James Stephen. The name originated from the London suburb, Clapham, where many of the group members chose to live."

Read the full story here...

John Piper has his own summary on this issue, and this is a great point that I hope we don't miss. He points out that the burden of Wilberforce’ book “A Practical View of Christianity” was that “true Christianity, which consists in these new, indomitable spiritual affections for Christ, is rooted in the great doctrines of the Bible about Sin and Christ and Faith.”. So Wilberforce’s driving force in his life was those "great doctrines of the gospel" and not merely a social conscience.

Read John Piper’s full article here…

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

All we need is 'a few good men (and women!)" who are prepared to run a marathon, committed to a cause and doggedly pursue it for God's glory without seeing results in their own lifetime... :)

The Inklings (CS LEwis & Tolkien) is a model of that in the literary world.

Jester of Alba said...

I have heard of the Inklings, cited by Anonymous, but I have no memory of being told about William Wilberforce (although for some reason the last name strikes a bell) or the "Sect". It appears my already large and growing reading list for this year has just gotten larger.
The Jester

Anonymous said...

Check out Clapham Sect, bro! Francis Schaeffer and Abraham Kuyper should make it into the list too... :)